McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) Posts Nearly Flat Q4 Earnings

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) released its fourth quarter earnings report this morning, saying that profits were about flat, although global same-store sales edged slightly lower while expenses increased. Earnings per share increased from $1.38 to $1.40 per share, partially because the company had fewer outstanding shares in the fourth quarter of 2013. Revenue increased 2% to $7.09 billion.

Analysts had been expecting the fast food giant to report $1.39 per share in earnings on $7.11 billion in revenue. Shares of the company were little moved by the earnings report in premarket trading this morning.

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McDonald’s wraps up a “challenging year”

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MSFT) has been struggling for some time as it faces challenges both internally and externally. The global economy has been soft, which has resulted in consumers cutting down on their spending at restaurants. In addition, the company did have some missteps in how it attempted to address these challenges.

During the fourth quarter, McDonald’s returned $1.3 billion to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends.

Breaking down McDonald’s results

U.S. comparable store sales fell 1.4% during the fourth quarter, while operating income increased 1%. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) worked on its value proposition by introducing its Dollar Menu and More and featuring new food and drink options for a limited time. The company said this year they’re focusing on “optimizing current initiatives” by strengthening their focus on menu choices, customer engagement and operations.

European comparable sales grew 1%, and operating income rose 3% due to strong performance in the U.K., France and Russia. In the APMEA region, comparable sales fell 2.4% as operating income fell 8% because of weakness in Japan and fairly flat performance in Australia and China. In this area, McDonald’s said it is focusing on every day affordability, menu items which are locally relevant, new restaurants and more conveniences.

McDonald’s looks ahead

As far as the current quarter, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) said it expects to see January comparable sales to be “relatively flat.” Management said they would be focusing on strengthening the McDonald’s brand